Shortly after the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill, BP set aside $20 billion to try and make things right with those affected by the accident and the spill. They set up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) and eventually named an allegedly impartial administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, to run the GCCF and process the claims fairly and efficiently.
Many Denied GCCF Claims Surface
For some, things seem to have gone well. To date, over 168 thousand claims have been paid to the tune of nearly $3 Billion. Unfortunately, when you consider that nearly half a million claims have been filed, you start to see that things are not all rosy after all. Hundreds of thousands of claims have been denied. The GCCF says that the claims were either submitted with inadequate supporting paperwork or were fraudulently filed. Those missing paperwork to back up the claims have been returned to the sender with a demand for more proof. All the while, Feinberg and the GCCF have announced in public that everything is going just fine and they are doing the best they can while being understaffed and overworked.
For those suffering in the depths of poverty and unemployment, all caused by something that should have never happened in the first place, and certainly not their fault, this is simply not good enough. Reports continue to surface claiming that monies are being paid out to people completely unaffected by the Deepwater Horizon incident, while hundreds of thousands of others are seeing their claims denied without explanation.
A Denied GCCF Claim Horror story
One such victim is Dan Ward, of Florosa, Florida. Mr. Ward is the owner of Gulf Coast Tire and Automotive. He says that BP initially sent him three checks for $5,000 a piece over the summer in the days before the GCCF was set up. Once the GCCF and Mr. Feinberg took over the process, his checks stopped coming. After eight visits to the local claims office over the subsequent three months, he was continually told that his check would be ready any day. On December 10, he finally received notification that his final claim was being denied. No reason was given, and no explanation was offered. Mr. Ward says that he filed all the required paperwork, including every bit of actual financial data down to the dollar showing that he lost more than 25% of his summer business because of a severe drop in the number of tourists visiting the Florida panhandle following the Deepwater Horizon accident. Still, his claim was denied without any explanation.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has reported that the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association sent letters to its members saying that “the checks are pouring in.” Keith Overton, the chairman of the Association said that his beach resort in Saint Petersburg Beach had received an emergency payment and is expecting another check for $1.3 million to compensate its owners. Something is definitely amiss at the GCCF.